As a Marketing Assistant at Alchemy-Spetec, I am constantly asked to come up with ideas for blog posts – especially from a marketing perspective. One subject I’ve noticed we haven’t covered yet is referral sites. As a contractor, I’m sure you’ve heard of sites such as HomeAdvisor, AngiesList and Thumbtack. If you’re new to the industry and haven’t heard of them, they’re basically sites that customers visit when they are looking for a contractor. You may have listed your business on some of them, or you may not have tried any of them yet. Either way, I hope you find this brief overview helpful. Some of these programs have been proven to work and are a great way to get reviews and word of mouth going about your contracting business. We’ll take a look at benefits, precautions and best practices for using referral sites.
Benefits of Using the Right Referral Site
Because you’re putting yourself in front of customers who are actively seeking your services, you can increase your marketing ROI compared to other methods such as cold calling, print advertising, etc. In addition, referred customers are typically less price sensitive than cold call prospects. Referral sites are also a great way to build your reputation by accumulating positive reviews from customers. Not to mention the fact that they can increase traffic to your website. As discussed in our blog post How to Promote Your Contracting Business with a Blog, increased web traffic sends positive signals to search engines and increases your SEO rankings.
Before you do business with a referral site, it’s always a good idea to check them out on the Better Business Bureau website. Search the business name and then go to their listing and find the complaints section. You may also want to Google their name, plus the word “reviews” to see what you come up with. A cursory search of the three sites I’ve mentioned by name revealed a mixture of opinions among contractors. You’ll also want to figure out what platforms are relevant to your niche for branding and outreach purposes. So make to do your homework and thoroughly research any referral site you are considering.
Best Practices for Using a Referral Site
First impressions are very important, especially with new customers and definitely when it comes to reviews of your company. Make sure that your profile on the referral site clearly defines who you are marketing to and how they will benefit from the services that you are offered. Once you start getting customers through these sites, resist the temptation to immediately pester them for reviews. Sometimes it is better to give them time to evaluate the job done so they can give an accurate and much more valuable testimonial. Do not forget to thank a customer for their business and positive reviews. You may want to send personalized letters/emails/or even a phone call to those who have given you a positive review.
I hope this article has provided you with a deeper understanding on how to market your contracting business with referral sites. These platforms are essentially doing the dirty work for you while keeping valuable advertising dollars in your pocket. Implementing a referral program on the right site can exponentially increase your customer base.